Health Magazine

If You Are a Survivor…

Posted on the 07 February 2015 by Jean Campbell

survivorWhen I was first diagnosed, all I wanted was to speak to someone who survived breast cancer. I wanted to talk to a survivor, in fact survivors, the more the better. I didn’t want to hear war stories, but rather how the survivor got through treatment, with all of its side effects, and got on with life when active treatment was over.

I needed help with managing the feelings that were the companions of cancer: shock, panic, denial, anger, isolation, sadness and most of all the feeling that life, my life as I knew it, was gone.

I felt out of control as I made appointments to visit cancer specialists, surgeons and oncologists I didn’t know, but had to trust to cure me or put me in remission from this disease. I waited for the scheduled visits, I waited to be seen, I waited for the tests the doctors scheduled to confirm or clarify the suspected diagnosis and the extent of my cancer. I wait to hear the results of tests and the proposed treatment. I waited for the surgery date, the results of what was found during surgery, and what additional treatments I would need. I waited and waited and during the waiting my moods swung from confidence to fearing the worst and everything in between.

I have a friend in the waiting zone; she describes waiting as the hardest part of  her whole cancer experience so far.

She surfs the web trying to find more information about her cancer and looking for whatever it is we all look for during the night when we can’t sleep and we are trying to control the “What ifs”.

My friend shares how important reading the stories of survivors is for her. As she put it, “I don’t know if the people that are blogging and tweeting realize how much us new people use their experiences to help us on our journey.”I think all of us who have gone through cancer know what she means. A survivor gives the newly diagnosed hope just by having survived!

If you are a survivor , please send your story to: [email protected] You may never know directly those you help, but as my friend and many of my readers continue to confirm, survivor stories are tools for the newly diagnosed trying to get through treatment.

If you choose to share, please focus on the things you did to overcome the problems that breast cancer brings. What the newly diagnosed need are blueprints for getting through the fears, the treatments, the side effects, the feelings of being out of control, the anger and the sadness. Please make what you share a practical “How To” guide on getting through breast cancer, adapting to the changes that BC brings and living a life that may be different but is a good life as a survivor.

As a survivor you can make the journey so much easier for those just beginning their breast cancer experience.

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